The Intersemiosis of Negative Emotions in the Cinematic Discourse: a Psycholinguistic Perspective

Keywords: intersemiosis, cinematic discourse, emotional meaning making, negative cinematic emotions, semiotic codes, multimodality.


This study of the psycholinguistic properties of negative emotions in the English cinematic feature discourse focuses on the establishment of their intersemiosis – the simultaneous multimodal construction of emotional meanings by means of heterogeneous sign systems. The means of meaning construction in the cinematic discourse include linguistic, non-linguistic (prosody, kinesics, etc.) and extra-linguistic (music and kineikonic means), and different modes – acoustic and visual channels for transmitting meanings. The main psycholinguistic properties of cinematic emotions are their inextricable connection with the physiological processes, rootedness in the common human embodied experience, motivational basis; emotions are read as the result of an assessment of the satisfaction degree of individuals’ needs. The construction of emotional meanings in the cinematic discourse is the result of the interaction between the real world of the film makers and the imaginary world of the action. In constructing negative emotional meanings in general and emotions of fear and anger, in particular, the collective author of the cinematic discourse uses different semiotic codes in a parity or non-parity way. In the first case, heterogeneous semiotic codes both serve to denote fear or anger, while in the second, advantage is given to one of heterogeneous codes – linguistic, non- linguistic, and extra-linguistic. Consequently, this leads to the domination of one of the modes of transmitting meanings to the collective viewer – acoustic or visual. According to the coherence parameter of the emotional meaning embodied by various means of the semiosis of fear or anger, individual episodes of the English cinematic feature discourse are either congruent or non-congruent. Being congruent, different codes simultaneously transmit the same emotional meaning; being incongruent, heterogeneous semiotic codes actualize different emotional meanings, which leads to higher expressiveness of such emotions and their more effective influence on the viewer.


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Krysanova, T., & Shevchenko, I. (2019). The Intersemiosis of Negative Emotions in the Cinematic Discourse: a Psycholinguistic Perspective. PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, 25(2), 117-137.